Monday, July 31, 2006


i'm eating a bowl of blueberries one blueberry at a time. and you know what, each one tastes different than the rest. or at least different than its predecessor.

giddy. or the wonder of 'adult onset athleticism'

first let me say that i worry that this blog is all me, me, me, me ..... seeing that it is my blog i'll just have to look beyond that.

the results of the provincial road race are in. after considering the results during my run i am quite pleased. pleased with all due modesty etc.

so the results. my time for what was essentially a 90 k.m solo - for i failed to catch the break which went off the front 7 minutes into the race - was 2:46. to put that in perspective the other 'official race time' i have for a 90 km effort was my cycle leg at the morden half iron-man 3 years ago. that time was 3 hrs minus lets say 2 minutes for transitions.

the nice thing about 'adult onset athleticism' is that i do not find myself pining for the good old days when i was young and fast. now the task before me is not to get to attached to these results when time inevitably makes these my young and fast years.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

return of cycling tan

ok. with tongue firmly in cheek. the dreaded cycling tan has returned. i noticed this driving home from the provincials today. egad! all that time training in my sleeveless jerseys to get a brown shoulder to contrast with my fish white torso and now under the brutal prairie sun in a sanctioned race jersey it returns. here's to more sleeveless miles.

i need sleep!

and here's to the folks at nine mile. i'm looking forward to hearing their tales of 24 hr madness.

road racing debut

..... and my fantasy race was over in about seven minutes. although i am uncertain of the time for i sure was'nt looking at my watch as the pack zipped down the hill and fragmented on the following climb. having not managed to get into either the first or second group after the race was quickly torn apart by the guys up front i did what i am accustomed to doing. i rode hard and alone.

i must say riding alone was a comfort because the large group that started did make me nervous and as a mtn biker i'm used to racing alone. it was my first road race after all. it was fun. i loved it. i learned alot. and as dave dorning - man he is strong this year - and gary sewell said afterwards nerves are remedied by experience. thats the great thing about inexperience. it is solved by throwing yourself into the mix with your senses open.

it was super hot today. big headwind for half the course. good thing i have come to accept headwinds as a friend otherwise parts of today would have sucked. great news. i hammered the descents with max speed. descents had been a problem following a high speed wobble induced through the ditch and over land journey a few years back. it was really, really nice to put that anxiety to rest. to fast descents! especially when your potential speed is weight enhanced as it is for me. it's good to have gravity work for you.

oh, i held a solid hammering pace from beginning to end and picked my way through the the dropped riders from the front groups. each rider was, however, shelled and exhausted so we could not work together to get back up to the front.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

four thoughts

my mind is often a closed loop. i am most aware of this when riding for i have fewer distractions and i can see more clearly the repetitious nature of the thoughts and ideas that bounce around, get held and are examined. today's ride, a brief spin before tomorrow's race, was field of play for four ideas/thoughts that have been presented to me over the previous days.

tomorrow i will explore a beautiful and cleansing pain. cycling is a number of things for all riders and is multifaceted for me. it is an action and an aesthetic. it is a celebration of life: it is joy and it is pain. it is mastery of task and competitevely it is a knowing and immersion in terrain, group dynamics, strategy, and the ability to throw oneself into pain and danger.

in the hours which i spend riding each week [this time of year 8-12 hrs per week] i spend much time thinking. thinking can lead to mental suffering. i also spend much time pushing my body to its physical limits. pushing my body to its limits leads to physical suffering.

and there are times when i push my mental suffering through my body. my pain, longing, desiring, hating, loving, joy, anger become fuel for my legs and are ground through my mind and mitochondria becoming wattage. as in life i recover. i come in the door and recovery begins immediately with a smoothie. the next day i pull my recovery apart so that i may recover again.

tomorrow i will be focused for two and a half hours on nothing other than my immediate surroundings and my immediate moment. and there i will travel with a friend and confidant: the beautiful and cleansing pain i come to know while i train.

riding is a form of meditation: thoughts and emotions emanate and i do not push them away or force them down. i do my best to observe them and often i embrace them. when i ride long, 3 plus hours, or when i ride 2 or so hours with great intensity i reside within a body awash in endorphins. exhausted by the task of pushing my body through space but focused on keeping myself upright or out of a ditch or off the bumper of a car i achieve a state similar to that of some of my meditative efforts.

my meditation is much like my riding and my riding much like my meditation for in both spaces i watch my monkey mind dance around the task at hand. and that is the nature of my meditation: nonjudgementally watching my mind engage with the world around me.

i have had my great love. last night i was at m's with our children and we watched "must love dogs." when asked how he feels about his concurrent relationships with women christopher plummer answers his daughter by saying that he has had his great love. as a result he is involved in a "dance" that he apparently needs even though he is apparently unfullfilled, unattached and unenamoured.

i have empathy with this character. and while i was unable to articulate this at the embarkation of my 'year of single' i believe that this sentiment and a personal conclusion from it are at the root of that impulse. at present i have chosen to not enter into relationships, at least of the romantic kind, because i felt a kind of distance present in each of the realtionships i have had after the end of my marriage. it is unfair both for others and myself for me to be involved in romantic relationships.

i meander to the periphery and there i find the edge of truth and the beginning of other truths. so i will go back to 'i have have had my great love' a statement that resonated with me and was like a sharp note played. it now bounces around my mind and i wonder if that is the truth of my longing and attachment to a great love i have had.

i have had a great love is very different from i have had my great love. i still have the better part of a year to think about this conundrum.

who do i miss the most. i responded to a questionnaire m sent out to me and a number of her other friends. in it you are asked "who do you miss the most." this is not the first time i have seen this question. it is a valuable one and one that appears often in questionaires. my response has always been my mother and law and her daughter. they are missed in different ways. jenniece, the mother is missed in the way we miss those who have died and left us forever. i remember her and while i no longer turn to her or talk to her as i did shortly after her passing her memory does endure. she also lives on in her daughter and her daughter's children; my children.

i also miss the daughter. m is missed as a lover who is still loved but no longer mine. it is an absence without absence. it is a longing that is trigger each time i see her or think of her. it is the confusion of desiring her even though a pain, sometimes slight, sometimes deep to the core accompanies this unrequited desire.

knowing that those you love are healthy and happy is the the most gratifying knowledge there is. knowing that you are able to give the one you love happiness with your absence even when it breaks your heart is a heavy knowledge. giving that freedom and happiness is beautiful.

interconnections: longing, losing, loving, suffering, feeling, thinking, living. tomorrow i will explore a beautiful and thought provoking pain.


the above image is of a lotus flower seen through, i recall, an electron microscope.

is the term blogosphere? what an amazing collection of creative beauty and thoughtful articulation.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

this post has no name

one of my fans, my son owen. i am certainly his biggest fan.

another fan, my daughter piper. i am certainly her biggest fan.

what a week. steve is on his way to north carolina. paddy, naomi, dallas and jonah are at nine mile. go cats go!

i've decided to race the road provicials this weekend. this will be my first road race. i'm looking forward to it and i am very excited. i rode the 14.9 km course twice today - took the road bike on a business trip - and it is excellent and will be fast. we, masters, will do 6 laps on sunday. i don't really know the road crowd but there will be some familiar faces. i will be a participant/observer. i will learn much on sunday.

my legs feel great and are on a diet of many, many hours of riding. i am going to taper for sunday.

lindsay gauld has proposed a two day 48 hr tour du manitoba. looks like it may be 600 or so km of mostly gravel with a bit of road and trail. it also looks alot like a 5 day tour proposed by other friends some time ago. well i'm game. 48 hrs of being 'last place larsen' on a string of exceptional athletes sounds perfect.

Monday, July 24, 2006

thank you

thank you to the guy who passed me two hours into my tempo ride. when i first passed you i was motoring along in tempo neutral, happy with the dull 'almost pain' that the previous two hours had flushed through my legs. when you zoomed passed me i jumped it a bit and passed you. when you drafted me and passed me i gotta admit it became a little more personal. friendly competitive lets say.

what you did'nt know was that i was out on a 2:40 tempo to push a lot of pain through my quads. i still did that. what i need to thank you for is allowing me to go into the elusive race pace. i usually shrink from that when training. today however all the right things conspired.

so here's to you. when i buried you i went race pace and i stayed there, 53x11, for 15 minutes of beautiful endorphin wash. when i could no longer see you and i kept it amped it no longer had anything to do with you or anybody else it was all about me burying me in that place we find in our rides.

again, thanks.


we fall and we get up so that we may fall again. each time we see more clearly strength in ourselves and strength in others; beauty in ourselves and beauty in others; love in ourselves and love in others. the tears shed for scrapes and bruises are like a rain that cleanses and rejuvenates a tired land.

Friday, July 21, 2006

bird's hill

wednesday night's bird's hill race was postponed - a film about a female serial killer in conflict witht a rogue grizzly bear is being shot out there - but a bunch of us got out for some laps. the course is fantastic, i had never ridden it before. it is tight technical cut from the forest with a few long fast bits.

i enjoyed it so much i took a page from tom's training manual and the following night i rode out to the park, rode three laps and rode back home. the ride out was a soul sucking endevour through rush-hour traffic longing for the single track ahead. that hour + seemed to last an eternity. the hour home was not so bad but rolling down the side of hwy # 59 on the comfy couch just does'nt seem right. with an hour + of single track it was a 3 and a half hour evening. what a perfect way to spend a summer's evening. i also hooked up with a good friend for a 2 hour spin at lunch. so it was a 5 + hour day. yeah, good fortune smile on me.

today steve wants to ride west for the afternoon. i think i'm game.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


buddhism is an important part of my life and informs, significantly, my world view. this blog has not been infused with that element of my life. i have thought about providing personal observations and quotations from buddhist teachers.

today i begin with a favorite teacher, shunryu suzuki. the following is from zen mind, beginners mind and points to interdependance and the value of our recognition of it.

"when we truly become ourselves, we just become a swinging door, and we are purely independant of, and at the same time dependant upon everything."

my car is hot....... in no ac. major problems on the ac front. i am disappointed. however with the windows down we get all that awesome prairie air. besides with 2 months of summer, 4 months of transition, and 6 months of winter i'll get by.

today's velo quote

from the velo news live tour tracker;

4:08 PM Holy....
If you ever want to dispell the illusion that cycling is an eco-friendly sport, you should see Rasmussen right now. We have on skinny little dude on a 14-pound bike and he's surrounded by about six cars, seven motorcycles and a helicopter....

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

temporary satisfaction

remembering all things are impermanent i have achieved temporary satisfaction. i had to drop the wonder wagon off at the shop to get the ac fixed so that paddy 'where's the ac, my ac rocks, is this thing still under warranty' humenny will be willing to ride in it again. so i threw the cyclocross on the roof.

the shop just happens to be at the far end of the river trails i was on yesterday. so i barrelled back on the 29er. she is in commuter mode so the ride was 39x15 with slicks.

good times.

now about the ac. hmm. used car glitch. ac condensor may be damaged and thus not covered by warranty. what price cold cabin? we'll soon see.

l'alpe d'heuz

from velo news live tracker [i don't have cable].

2:05 PM Landis jumps off the frontNooooo... he's taking a leak. Sorry. He's relaxed... not to worried.

Monday, July 17, 2006

never satisfied

no sooner do i get home from a rockin lunch hour single track ride on the city's river banks than i'm thinkin.....hmmm i need to get out there on the 29er and get ready for cross season. [above action; saskatoon psycho-cross fall 04]

oh the joy of bikes and the time to ride them!

fun at the beach

paddy, steve and i rode laps at grand beach on sunday. it was steve's first time out there and he got lost. [we all got lost at some point: the area is like a rabbit's warren of trails] steve was able to find the car though, and then the beach. dave dorning was also up there for some laps. he is very fast this year. grand beach will be the site of the provincial mtn bike championships on august 19.

the course is sandy and hilly with a few decent boulder infested technical bits. by the third lap i was able to get through the toughest of these with some grace and dignity. it is an awesome course.

the day was super hot so it was down to the beach afterwards to parade our skinny-assed cycling tan bodys across the sand and into the water for a quick refreshing dip. apparently grand beach is the longest fresh water beach in north america.

i think that between now and provincials the road bike will be put to the bottom of the bike rotation and i am going to focus on my technical 'skills.' having the legs does'nt matter if i can's steer them down the trail.

the guys, not to mention my kids, will be glad to know that the wonder wagon in getting the a/c looked after tomorrow. still under warranty, whew! the heat is on baby. i hear that all of us coast to coast tip to tip are having the hottest summer on record. hmm. wonder if that has anything to do with my car and everybody elses?

Friday, July 14, 2006

stealth ride

ok, i'm not going to write about every ride. but today's ride post stems from me finding my legs - training started late this spring - and my continued enthusiasm for the above pictured bike.

the stealthy ride pictured above is not something i would have spent my hard earned cash on. my means are far too modest. i was, however, hit by a car three years ago. outcome; shattered helmet, acre of road rash, couple of decent facial lacerations, and a smashed frame. my home insurance covered a replacement bike. and this was the replacement for a tired first generation cadex carbon fibre bike. hmmm.

at any rate a sweet ride like this would not gather dust in any home. this saddle is where i spend hours and hours and hours of base endurance training. today however, i hammered it for two solid redline hours.

you know i'm smilin.

mutant fruit flies rampant in kitchen and compost

i now see why fruit fly's are used for genetic experimentation. apart from a simple genetic to trace, these creatures are prolific and prodigious breeders. i now have a cloud of them living in my kitchen with the epicenter continually hovering over my compost bowl - this bowl is the temporary home of veg and fruit debris destined for the composter outside. my flies seem to be a mutant yellow type.

the peace that had been established during their colonization stage is being eroded by their sheer volume and numbers. i don't know if i can wait to see what the carrying capacity of my household is - what with all the fruit that comes in and peelings etc. that go out. and horror of horrors what if they begin to find the sticky spots left by the kids freezies! the entire house would be over-run.

their is plenty of advice for killing them with poisons and contraptions and more benign methods. i think i am going to try to get them to move outdoors.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

still time to vote: send singlespeeders to transrockies

vote for rich, aka, team dicky and send a single speed team to the transrockies. just watch some vids and register with the good folk at race face

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

when running becomes a death march any resolution is concievable

large fiery object seen hovering over the prairies.

35 degrees in winnipeg today, who knows what the humidex was. after two fantastic rides yesterday, tempo on the road in the morning and technical on the trails in evening, i thought a run was in order. i set out a noon, perfect timing for suffering, on my 17km loop through assiniboine park and around tuxedo golf course.

now i will forever know it as the water fountain route. the exact location of all the water fountains was on my mind much of the time. the dirty three was apropo for such conditions.

funny what goes through one's mind on a long run [ in this heat it took 2hrs] when every ounce of liquid is being wrung from your body. today i resolved to embark on a year of being single. equinox to equinox, or solstice to solstice, whatever the mid summer long day is. i was with a remarkable woman for 18 years. since our separation/divorce i have been in a few relationships with some great people. but i've spent very little time unattached. now i would like to be unattached to my apparent need for romantic relationships. a year it is.

running, who knew. maybe i should stick to riding.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

the modest hobo

steve harjula, graphic designer extrodinaire and cycling machine, seen here with tom and allan at ian hall's pre-marriage send off / kidnapping, is modest about his cycling.

sunday steve planned to ride from winnipeg to kenora to visit a friend. outside of falcon lake on his way to kenora he discovered via tm that his friend had to return to winnipeg.

steve turned around, rode the maelstrom of sunday hwy #1 return traffic back to falcon and over lunch considered his options. true to form he opted to ride back to wpg on secondary highways. sunday was cold so he left wpg late to begin with and got back to the city at nightfall having put 10 hrs into the saddle and 350+ kms under his wheels.

monster ride? the mighty finn says "eh, just a ride."

yo steve, next year listen to us. ride the beach.

Monday, July 10, 2006

the comfy couch

the reach the beach and blundurd ride. i know it's not single speed. but a great ride nonetheless. can you tell that i have no time for gardening.

reach the beach: results

my legs are fine, maybe i could have wrung more out of them. hmmm, certainly don't remember that being the case yesterday. more likely my muscles are just glad to have a 4 hr effort after blundurds 10 hr grind. my time was 4:18.53. dave dorning was first at 3:44, paddy second at 3:46, and tom third at 3:47. sic fast. don sisson's also came in under 4 hours. like i said yesterday the course was fast and the riders were dialed. mid-summer legs! full results olympia took 4 of the top ten spots!

a long run is in order today. mantario 'marathon' is only 3 months away.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

floyd landis has depth

man this guy is one hell of a story. NY Times reports on flandis's hip condition. what a rider.

gravel sucks, sand's worse

whoa what a ride. not to sure what happened right up front but either dave dorning, paddy or tom won. my money's on paddy. i had to split before the placings were announced. i do know that i rounded out the top ten again this year. it was a fast course and a fast feild up front. i rode hard, as hard as i could - i like that - and it was a great day. 40 km of gravel 53 km of trail and most of that trail was front wheel surfing / front wheel sucking sand. my time was 4:17 a fair bit faster than last year i do believe.

riding bikes is good.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

get out your vote. singlespeed team for transrockies

vote for rich, aka, team dicky and send a single speed team to the transrockies. just watch some vids and register with the good folk at race face

reach the beach

tomorrow is reach the beach. after last week's blundurd hundurd
the beach should be a sprint. judging from the tempo ride with Tom, Paddy and Steve a few days ago i'll be behind those boys. no suprises there.

Friday, July 7, 2006

i just finished reading nando parrado's 'Miracle in the Andes.' his account of the 1972 andean air crash is stunning. i cannot believe that he and one other of the survivors managed a significant mountian climb / expedition without proper equipment, 'food', health, or experience. read it if you hav'nt already. it is testimony to the fact that we humans can pretty much accomplish anything. even if / especially if we have no idea of what we are doing and simply put one foot in front of the other.

first post

cyclocross is good. cyclocross on halloween better.